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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
George Charles Simpson

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 130-133 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of George Charles Simpson

Portrait: George Charles Simpson

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George Charles Simpson, the youngest son of George Baptist and Helen (McKay) Simpson, was born in the town of Amsterdam, New York, on June 10, 1817, and died in Fonda, New York, on March 28, 1891, aged seventy-four years. The Simpson family of Fonda are of Scotch descent, their ancestors having owned property in Berwick-on-Tweed and Holy Island, Scotland, for generations. They were a seafaring family, many of them being owners and masters of vessels trading with the East Indies. George Baptist Simpson, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in 1784, and died in the town of Perth, New York, on February 22, 1819. He was the son of John and Elizabeth (Baptist) Simpson, who were born in Berwick, Scotland, where they died in middle life, leaving four children, Daniel, Elizabeth, Patience and George Baptist Simpson. Elizabeth Simpson married John Cramond and they came to America about the year 1800 and settled in Albany, New York. Five years later the younger children followed. Crossing the Atlantic on the same vessel with George Baptist Simpson was Helen Stuart McKay, who became his wife soon after they reached this country. Helen Stuart (McKay) Simpson, mother of George Charles Simpson, was born near Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1789, her parents being Charles and Helen (Stuart) McKay. They settled in the town of Perth, New York, where the McKay farm was occupied by their descendants for over a hundred years. Charles McKay was born in Scotland and died in the town of Perth, New York. His wife was also born in Scotland, and died there. Helen (McKay) Simpson survived her husband many years and died in Broadalbin, New York, on February 5, 1875, at the advanced age of eighty-six years.

George Charles Simpson grew up on the farm and received his early education in the district school of the town of Perth, New York. At the age of seventeen he went to Amsterdam, and learned the saddlery and harness trade. After being duly equipped to enter business for himself he went to Fultonville, New York, and opened a shop, and later opened one in Fonda, and for several years conducted both places. In 1854 he established his home in Fonda and disposed of his Fultonville business. In connection with his partner I. M. Davis, Mr. Simpson also owned and operated a cotton mill in Berryville, New York. He retired from active business in 1867, at the age of fifty, and thereafter devoted himself to the care of his affairs and to civic improvements of the village of Fonda.

On October 26, 1848, in Fultonville, George Charles Simpson was united in marriage to Miss Lucy T. Gardinier, who was born in Fultonville, on October 26, 1823, her parents being Charles and Lucy (Smith) Gardinier. Charles Gardinier was the son of John S. and Jane (Van Epps) Gardinier. He was born in Fultonville, on February 22, 1799, and died in that place on April 4, 1865. He conducted a grocery business in Fultonville. His wife, Lucy (Smith) Gardinier, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, August 20, 1804, and died in Fultonville, on November 16, 1823. John S. Gardinier was born in the town of Glen on November 9, 1765, and died there on May 17, 1817. He was buried on his farm. Jane (Van Epps) Gardinier was born October 2, 1770, in the town of Glen and died there on September 19, 1841. She was the daughter of Charles Van Epps for whom the town of Charleston, New York, was named. Her mother was Katherine Winne, daughter of Peter Winne and Anna Van Vechten. John S. Gardinier was the son of Samuel and Mary (Newkirk) Gardinier. Samuel Gardinier was born on March 18, 1733, and passed away on December 30, 1806. He was a private and later a lieutenant in his brother Jacob's company, Colonel Frederick Visscher's Regiment, Tryon County Militia, in the battle of Oriskany. His wife, Mary (Newkirk) Gardinier, was born about 1734 and died on March 17, 1803. The parents of Samuel Gardinier were Claas (Nicholas) and Rachel (Winne) Gardinier. Claas Gardinier was born in 1684, married on August 13, 1713, and died on September 22, 1758. Rachel (Winne) Gardinier, was baptized on August 8, 1690, in New York city and died on September 26, 1758. She was the daughter of Adam and Anna (Lockerman) Winne. Claas Gardinier was the son of Hendrick and Neeltje (Class) Gardinier. Hendrick Gardinier was born in 1668 and died in 1694. His parents were Jacob Janse and Josyna Gardinier. Jacob Janse Gardinier was born in 1615 and died in 1688. His wife, Josyna Gardinier, died in February, 1669. Jacob Janse Gardinier was the progenitor of the family. He settled in Beverwyck, now Albany, New York, and was a carpenter and builder and a prominent citizen as early as 1638. In 1656 he owned the land on the north side of Wall street, Albany, from William to Pearl streets, which he divided into lots and sold through his agent. He also bought land in Kinderhook, New York, and here his immediate descendants settled. Mrs. Simpson, wife of George Charles Simpson, died at her home in Fonda, on April 25, 1867, and is laid to rest in Maple Avenue cemetery in Fultonville, which was the family burial place of the Gardiniers in the early Colonial days.

Mr. and Mrs. George Charles Simpson were the parents of six children, three of whom, John, George, and Charles, died in infancy. The surviving children were: Helen M., born January 14, 1851; John H., born August 29, 1854, who died on November 10, 1887; and Jean G. Simpson, born February 3, 1862, in Fonda. John H. Simpson, an invalid for many years, devoted the most of his time to study and was one of the best informed men of Montgomery county. The Misses Helen M. and Jean G. Simpson are the only surviving members of the family, and are still residing in the old home in Fonda. They are deeply interested in the questions of the day, and give of their time and means to worthy causes. They were tireless in their work for the Red Cross during the World war; subscribed liberally in money, and gave the use of a centrally located store for headquarters for the Fonda branch of the A. R. C. Miss Helen M. Simpson was vice-chairman of the local organization, and Miss Jean G. Simpson was treasurer.

George Charles Simpson was for eighteen years a trustee of the public school and loan commissioner for many years. He was strongly interested in politics. At first as a whig and later as a republican, he was highly esteemed among the leading men of the county, as well as his political associates. During the Civil war he served on all the war committees for the town of Mohawk, and rendered valuable service. He was also a temperance man, sparing neither time nor money in support of the cause, and throughout his life he worked for the best interests, not only of his family, but of the community in which he lived.

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